Chinese Marxism

This page contains links to a number of items relating to Chinese Marxism. They include important documents relating to Xi Jinping’s emphasis on Marxism as the core of the Chinese project, documents from the CPC Central Committee, and a number of unpublished pieces that I wrote while discovering Chinese Marxism over the last decade. In relation to the first two categories, at times I have provided an unofficial translation.

Before beginning the study of Chinese Marxism, we should recall Mao Zedong’s observation, made while adressing Chinese students in Moscow in 1957:

Some foreigners say that our ideological reform is brainwashing. As I see it, they are correct in what they say. It is washing brains, that’s what it is! This brain of mine was washed to become what it is. After I joined the revolution, [my brain] slowly washed, washed for several decades. What I received before was all bourgeois education, and even some feudal education … At that time, none of us knew anything about how the Chinese revolution was to be promoted!

Washing one’s brain: this is precisely what anyone outside China needs to do before beginning the process of understanding Chinese Marxism.

As Mao put it at around the same time: ‘Not to have a correct political orientation is like not having a soul’.

Further material:

Xi Jinping

‘Xi Jinping is one of the strongest and most capable revolutionary leaders I have met in my life’ (Fidel Castro, 2014).

Although Marxism runs like a red thread through all of Xi Jinping’s many speeches and publications, there are six crucial pieces:

  • ‘The Timely Advance and Historical Inspiration of the CPC’s Leading Thought and Basic Theory over the Last 90 Years’ (2011.06.20). This is an earlier text, celebrating the 90th anniversary of the CPC in 2011. It is available in Chinese and can be downloaded here.
  • ‘Speech at a Symposium on Philosophy and Social Sciences’ (2016.05.17). This was a landmark speech on the central role of Marxism in developing philosophy and social sciences in China. It has set the agenda not merely in education and research, but also across a whole range of activities from news media to public policy. The Chinese version can be downloaded here.
  • ‘Speech at a Conference Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Marx’s Birth’ (2018.05.04). Arguably one of the most important of all, since it engages with the works of Marx and Engels in some depth and applies them to China. The speech forms the basis of the last chapter of my book on socialism with Chinese characteristics. As it has not as yet been translated into other languages, you can download the Chinese version here.
  • ‘Dialectical Materialism is the World Outlook and Methodology of Chinese Communist Party Members’ (2020.01.15). Originally delivered at a CPC Central Committee study group in 2015, this presentation once again emphasises Marxist philosophy and has more recently been republished – in early 2019 – in the Central Committee’s journal Qiushi (Seeking Truth – website at qstheory.cn). You can download the Chinese version here.
  • ‘Adhere to Historical Materialism and Constantly Open Up New Frontiers for the Development of Marxism in Contemporary China’ (2020.01.15). Alongside the philosophical emphasis of dialectical materialism is the application in historical materialism. Such is the emphasis of this piece, originally prepared in 2013 for a CPC Central Committee Study Group and published once again in early 2020 in Qiushi. You can download the Chinese version here.
  • ‘Opening Up New Frontiers for Marxist Political Economy in Contemporary China’ (2020.08.15). Another earlier piece from 2015 and republished in Qiushi in 2020 as the 14th five-year plan was in preparation. To my knowledge, this is the only piece of the six that also appears in English translation. You can download Chinese here, and English translation here.

To be added to the previous item on Marxist political economy is the speech that Xi Jinping gave to the planning committee for the 14th five-year plan. He delivered the speech on 24 August, 2019, and it was published in the second issue of Qiushi, in January 2021 (here). It is called in English ‘Correctly understand and handle major issues concerning medium- and long-term economic and social development‘. The Chinese version can be downloaded here. Note especially the following:

Engels said that ‘the whole theory of the proletarian party comes from the study of political economy’. Lenin regarded political economy as ‘the deepest, most comprehensive and most detailed proof and application’ of Marxist theory. We should use the methodology of Marxist political economy to deepen our understanding of the laws of China’s economic development and improve the level of our ability in leading China’s economic development.

The remainder is a collection of pieces on Xi Jinping, which I wrote between 2017 and 2019 as I was engaged in research for the book on socialism with Chinese characteristics. These pieces have their limits, since they indocate my perceptions at the time of writing.

  • ‘Xi Jinping on Marx: Reading the Speech from Marx’s 200th Birthday’ (2018) – download here.
  • ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ (2017) – download here.
  • ‘Celebrating Hong Kong’s Return: Xi Jinping’s Speech’ (2017) – download here.
  • ‘Views from the Common People: Appreciating Xi Jinping’ (2018) – download here.
  • ‘Celebrating 70 Years of the New China: A Foreigner’s Perspective’ (2019) – download here.

Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics is Socialism, and not some other -ism’ – Xi Jinping (2012).

  • Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: A Guide for Foreigners (book outline) – download here.
  • ‘Discovering Chinese Socialism: A Personal Account’ (2017) – download here.
  • ‘A Dialectical Leap?’ (2018) – download here.
  • ‘Chinese Trust in the Government’ (2019) – download here.
  • ‘Why Is Chinese Governance Better?’ (2019) – download here.
  • ‘Grassroots Consultative Socialist Democracy (2020) – download here.
  • ‘Non-Politicised Elections’ (2020) – download here.
  • ‘The Greening of Beijing’ (2019) – download here.
  • ‘Core Socialist Values’ (2018) – download here.
  • ‘Why Would One Join the Communist Party of China?’ (2015) – download here.
  • ‘Origins of the Belt and Road Initiative’ (2018) – download here.

Important Documents from the CPC Central Committee

  • ‘Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party Since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China’ (1981) – download Chinese here, and unofficial English translation here. A crucial text that was three years in the making, containing a balanced assessment of Mao Zedong’s achievement (primary) and his mistakes (secondary). On the latter, the resolution includes a careful and astute assessment of the deviation of the Cultural Revolution.
  • ‘Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Part of China on Some Issues Concerning the Establishment of a Socialist Market Economic Structure’ (1993) – download Chinese here, and unofficial English translation here. This comprehensive decision enacted in detail Deng Xiaoping’s proposal for a socialist market economy as a component in China’s overall socialist system. Importantly, the socialist market economy did not do away with a planned economy, but became another component alongside with and complementary to the planned economy.
  • ‘Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform’ (2013) – download Chinese here, and official English translation here. This is a key text that lays out the agenda from the beginning of Xi Jinping’s tenure as chairman.
  • ‘Opinions on Strengthening the Construction of Socialist Consultative Democracy’ (2015) – download Chinese here, and unofficial English translation here. This text shows how comprehensive the program of consultative democracy is in China, and how much hard work is going into strengthening this approach. It works alongside other components of the socialist democratic system.

State Council Information Office

Listed below are some of the more important White Papers issued by the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. These White Papers – in both Chinese and English – may be found at the SCIO’s website (here).

  • Building Political Democracy in China (2005) – download Chinese here, and English translation here. This text is a full statement of China’s socialist democratic system of governance, covering the National People’s Congress (CPC), multi-party consultative democracy, minority nationalities, grassroots democracy, socialist human rights, rule of law, and internal goverance in the CPC.
  • The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang (2019) – download Chinese here, and English translation here.

One Country, Two Systems

  • ‘Taiwan Special Administrative Region’ (2018) – download here.
  • ‘Deng Xiaoping on Hong Kong: The Relevance of Contradiction Analysis’ (2020) – download here.

Socialist Rule of Law

  • ‘China’s Socialist Rule of Law’ (2020) – download here.
  • ‘Demystifying the Chinese Social Credit System (and Why Everyone Likes It) (2019) – download here.

Chinese Marxist Promotion of Human Rights

  • ‘Between Western and Chinese Marxist Approaches to Human Rights’ (2018) – download here.
  • ‘Statement of Fact: China Upholds and Promotes Human Rights in Accord with Internationally Agreed Norms’ (2019) – download here.
  • ‘What About the Uyghur?’ (2020) – download here.
  • ‘Why Xinjiang? Why Now?’ (2018) – download here.
  • ‘Mao’s Liberation of Tibet’ (2018) – download here.
  • ‘What About the Chinese Workers?’ (2018) – download here.

Publications in Chinese Newspapers

  • ‘What Have We Learned, and What Will the World Look Like?’ Guangming Daily, 12 May, 2020. Download Chinese here, and English here.
  • ‘World’s Top Marxism Expert has a Crush on China’s Socialist Model’, Xinhua News, 6 May, 18. Download Chinese here, and English here.
  • ‘Contradiction in Chinese Marxist Philosophy’. Marxist Studies Monthly, 26 May, 2016. Download Chinese here.
  • ‘Contradiction: The Key to Understanding the Sinification of Marxism’. Chinese Social Sciences Today, 12 April, 2017. Download Chinese here, and English here.
  • ‘Fundamental Limitations of US Democracy’. People’s Daily, 15 August, 2015. Download Chinese here, and English here.

‘Western’ Misperceptions

  • ‘Believing in Ghosts: Unravelling the “China Threat” Narrative (2019) – download here.
  • ‘Codes and Conspiracies, or, Trying to Understand the Infantile Disorder of “Left-Wing” Communism’ (2018) – download here.
  • Narratives of Betrayal: A ‘Western’ Trope (2017) – download here.
  • ‘Losurdo on Hong Kong and “June 4”: Colonialism by Other Means and a Failed “Colour Revolution”‘ (2019) – download here.
  • ‘Lousy Evidence: On the Uselessness of “Defector” Testimony’ (2019) – download here.
  • ‘How Anti-China Stories are Concocted’ (2020) – download here.

Other Material

  • ‘Ideals in the Mountains: Hiking with Mao and Friends’ (2014) – download here.
  • ‘Lenin in China’ (2012) – download here.
  • ‘The Passing of Domenico Losurdo’ (2018) – download here.